In the wake of Tripura’s indigenous tea variety gaining popularity amongst locals, state-run tea development corporation is planning to expand tea supplies in fair price shops across the state from April this year, Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC) Chairperson Santosh Saha stated Sunday.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Saha said that the tea development corporation is currently supplying tea to 231 ration shops of Agartala city and the adjoining areas under the Public Distribution System (PDS) as per a cabinet decision taken last year. However, the supplies have risen so high that the stocks are getting depleted and the TTDC is planning to start tea supplies across the state from April this year.
“We are now supplying tea in only 231 fair price shops and the stocks are getting depleted. Meanwhile, we have decided to start tea supplies (in ration shops) across the state from April. We shall need 15 lakh kg made tea for that. So, we have decided to adopt a host of steps to buckle up our production graph,” Saha told indianexpress.com.
Out of 15 lakh kilograms of tea required to supply in all these ration shops, the Tea Development Corporation is aiming to produce 9 lakh kg ‘made tea’ annually from its two processing factories including one at Durgabari Tea Estate near Agartala city to meet supply requirements across the state. The rest will be purchased from private tea estates like Ludhua in the south district, which have their own processing factories.
Deputy Director of Tea Board India – Joydeep Biswas said a ‘Run of India Tea’ will be held in Tripura on February 19 to spread awareness about tea manufactured in the state. ‘Run of India Tea’ is an initiative adopted by the Tea Board of India in collaboration with state tea development authorities across the country to boost tea awareness among masses. Similar initiatives were earlier held at Silchar in Assam and Nilgiri in Tamil Nadu.
An international buyers-sellers meet is scheduled to be held at Hapania International Fair Ground by end of February to promote tea as well. While the tea industry in Tripura is over 100 years old, it mainly produces CTC tea. However, it has created a niche for its own products in recent years with stress on organic tea, green tea, white tea and other brands of exotic teas.
Tripura has 58 operational tea gardens, among which 42 are individually owned, three are run by the Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC) and 13 are operated under cooperative societies. Around 3,000 small tea growers also run their tea gardens with government support. 6,885-hectare land is now under tea cultivation in the state.
According to estimates, Tripura has registered 3.58 crore Kg green tea leaf production annually, among which 88 lakh Kg “made tea” or processed tea is manufactured in different processing plants. The majority of this bulk is produced and sold by privately owned tea estates.
Public Distribution System in Tripura
Tripura has 9.15 lakh Public Distribution System (PDS) consumers out of which 3.37 lakh are Above Poverty Level (APL), 1.08 lakh Antyoday Annapurna Yojana (AAY) and 4.7 lakh Priority Household (PHH), receiving their ration supplies from 1810 fair price shops spread across eight districts. Ration consumers are provided six commodities through these shops including rice, wheat, sugar, lentil pulses, salt, and tea. The state government earlier announced to supply mustard oil, soya bean among the other daily necessities through fair price shops but supplies haven’t started yet.
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